My doctoral research focused on investigating diet and subsistence practices of prehistoric groups in the 'Green' Sahara of Holocene north Africa, using a combined archaeological, molecular and isotopic approach.
The research focussed firstly on the subsistence practices of Early Holocene semi-sedentary hunter-gatherers and then on the temporal and spatial extent of the exploitation of domesticates by mobile pastoralists in the Middle Holocene. The d13C and D13C values of preserved fatty acids extracted from archaeological ceramics, using a new reference database for modern animal fats, confirmed the exploitation of domesticates for their carcass and dairy products, beginning in the fifth millennium BC. The results also revealed that the animals giving rise to these fats subsisted on a wide range of different forages composed of C3 plants, varying combinations of C3 and C4, to diets comprising primarily C4 plants, suggesting that the ecosystems existing across the span of the early to middle Holocene in north Africa were extremely varied.
Furthermore, the remarkable preservation of diagnostic plant lipid biomarkers in organic residues from sites in the Libyan Sahara and at Kadero, Sudan, has enabled identification of the earliest processing of several different plant types in ceramic vessels.
MSci (Hons) in Archaeological Science, University of Bristol 2010
Winner of the Earth Sciences Hancock Special Prize for outstanding achievement 2010
PhD Organic Geochemistry Unit, University of Bristol 2014